Pressuring Gadhafi to Leave: Today’s Qs for O’s WH – 3/1/2011

By Kristina

Mar 1, 2011 2:44pm

TAPPER:  Just following up on Libya, Gadhafi — there's just no indication that — unlike the previous version of this film that we saw with Tunisia, there's no indication that he's moving towards bowing out.  If anything, he was walking around Tripoli.  There are support — he does have support in Tripoli.  Moving warships to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean — or whatever, humanitarian ships – is not going to be enough.  What else can the U.S. do?  What else does the White House intend to do?

CARNEY:  Jake, I think we have done already quite a lot, unilaterally and working with our international partners through the United Nations and the EU and other places.

The unilateral sanctions that we imposed on Friday have already led the Treasury Department to block access to $30 billion of assets held by the Libyan regime, by members of the regime.  That's a pretty strong message about the consequences of this continued behavior. The United Nations has, with incredible speed, made clear that it will refer to the International Criminal Court the abuses of human rights that are being proven to have happened in Libya and continue to happen, and that that will — that demonstrates the international community's commitment to hold accountable those who would perpetrate the kind of violations that we've been seeing and hearing about.

That produces, we believe, pressure on the regime.  And as I said yesterday, those who are around Colonel Gadhafi, who are wondering which way they should go and whether or not they should continue to support this leader who no longer has credibility at home or anywhere in the world, they ought to think twice about it, because the consequences of continuing to support Colonel Gadhafi are quite severe.  They will be held accountable.

TAPPER:  Last week, we saw a rash of Libyan ambassadors and some ministers and others separating themselves, removing themselves, from the Libyan regime.  We have not seen that in recent days, even as the U.S. has upped the pressure.  You're talking about those around Gadhafi needing to think about what side they want to be on.  You know, right now, hypothetically, stepping into one of their shoes, I don't really know how it's going to go.  And it doesn't really seem like the momentum for him to actually have to be forced from office is there right now.

CARNEY:  Well, Jake, I would –

TAPPER: Based on activities –

CARNEY:  I would — I would say, first of all, I understand, as that — and that's a fair question — I understand that as we all watch the events in the Middle East, in Libya and other countries, that the drama we are witnessing creates in us a sense of urgency and — but when you say you don't see a sense of momentum, my goodness, would anyone have predicted two weeks ago or three weeks ago that Colonel Gadhafi would be in this position that he is in now, where great swaths –

TAPPER:  — around him.

CARNEY:  — great swaths of the country are no longer in the control of his regime; where the entire international community, including Arab nations, have arrayed against him and called him illegitimate and not credible as a leader. So I would say that –

TAPPER:  I’m just talking about those in the regime leaving the regime. 

CARNEY:  Again, you're talking about a matter of days since — or, if that, hours maybe since high-level officials around him have separated themselves from him.  So I don't — I'm not sure I can accept the premise that there is a lack of momentum.

TAPPER:  When's the last one — the last member of the regime — who's the last one that –

CARNEY:  Jake, what I'm saying is that the rapidity of events in the last 10 days is rather remarkable, so I — the idea that things are moving slowly I just don't think is credible.

-Jake Tapper

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